Cape Malay Mince Curry

A quick and easy to make, Cape Malay Mince Curry is one of the most commonly eaten curries in South Africa.

Typically eaten with rice, mince curry is also often used as a filling in rotis and vetkoeks or eaten on toast with eggs for breakfast; making this curry as versatile as it is tasty! Mince curry is also a popular choice when feeding large groups of people as it is relatively cheap to make and a little goes a long way. The addition of peas and boiled eggs is common, although far from essential. Personally, I prefer to make mine with peas as it makes for a more nutritionally-rounded meal.

As humble as it may be, mince curry deserves to be called a Cape classic!

Cape Malay Mince Curry: Serves 4

  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 800g minced beef (not too lean)
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. masala
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves, sauté until the onions are golden
  2. In the meantime, combine all your ground spices, including the sugar and salt
  3. Add the mince and brown the meat. Make sure you break up the meat completely – you don’t want clumps of meat
  4. Add the spice mixture, ginger and garlic. Sauté for another minute
  5. Pour in the tomatoes and mix to combine
  6. Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for half an hour
  7. Remove the cover and increase the heat. Cook until the sauce reduces and starts to catch at the bottom of the saucepan. Add some extra water and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate the fonds (crusty bits) into the sauce
  8. Stir in the peas and re-cover. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for another 10 minutes
  9. Check the consistency of the sauce – it shouldn’t be too wet. If it is, continue cooking with the lid off till it reduces down slightly
  10. Spoon off any excess oil before serving

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